Most buyers will discover your home either by driving by and seeing your professional real estate yard sign (surprisingly, 18% of all home sales are initiated by lawn signs), visiting your webpage or by reading your advertisement in the newspaper or local newsletter.
Since it costs money to advertise in any major print media, you’ll want to keep your ad short but effective. You still need to highlight the most important features of your home. The purpose of an advertisement is to get buyers to call you for more information. It should contain enough information for the prospective home buyer to pre-qualify themselves in terms of price range and location, but not so much that it costs a fortune to run or eliminates the need for potential buyers to call you for answers to their questions.
The minimum your ad should contain:
o The fact that you are selling FSBO. Usually this means either putting FSBO, For Sale by Owner or BY OWNER at the beginning of the ad.
o The price of the home. While this will disqualify some buyers, what is the sense of having $75,000 or $300,000 buyers call you when your house is priced at $175,000? Buyers shop by price, so put yours in the ad.
o Your neighborhood. You can best decide whether you want to list the specific neighborhood or just the area of town. If your neighborhood is well known and highly desirable, obviously you should include the name. However, if you are selling a home in a less desirable neighborhood, just put in the area of town. Get an idea of what others are doing by looking at classified ads for homes in your area.
o Prospective home buyers generally have a size in mind when they look for homes. Most buyers know that they need at least 3 bedrooms or a family room or a large yard. Put the approximate size of your house in the ad, along with number of bedrooms and baths.
o The most compelling selling feature of your home. For instance, if you are selling a low-priced home, the feature might be that the payment is no higher than typical rent. Or, your home might be completely remodeled, or unusually charming or a wonderful family home. Your schools might be exemplary or your neighborhood very family-oriented. Or perhaps your yard backs onto a park or that your home is priced below appraisal. These are all features that will draw buyers.
o Your PHONE NUMBER, WEBPAGE ADDRESS and FSBO reference #!
So, a good small classified ad might look like this:
BY OWNER $150,000 3 BD/2BA Colonial in Parklawn Village. Excellent schools, great neighborhood, priced below market. Call XXX-XXXX – or visit http://www.website.com – FSBO# XXXX.
Another type of ad you could consider is a more informative ad. This would be a good ad to place in a neighborhood newsletter or on bulletin boards of local employers or in your information box on your sign. This type of ad doesn’t work well for classified advertising because it is simply too expensive to include so many words. An informative ad would include all of the above, plus more personal information.
For instance, a good informative ad might look like this:
LIVE BY A PARK! BY OWNER $150,000 3 BD/2BA Colonial in Parklawn Village. Enjoy a wonderful yard with built-in barbecue all summer and gaze at a winter wonderland all winter from the cozy fire-lit family room. This charming family home is nicely and neutrally decorated and in move-in condition. The neighborhood offers excellent schools, a swimming pool and tennis court – all in a fantastic location and priced below market! Please call for more details: XXX-XXXX – or visit http://www.website.com – FSBO# XXXX
Mark Camphaug is currently President of FreeFSBO.com and it’s parent Martcam LLC. [http://www.FreeFSBO.com] is a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) website that offers a free online listing and free real estate lawn sign to prospective FSBO home sellers. Camphaug spent the last 6 years as Vice President of one of the world’s largest and most successful Interactive Marketing Agencies where he specialized in all aspects of internet marketing, including SEO, PPC, Email and Affiliate marketing. Prior to that Camphaug spent 12 years in the competitive new home industry, duties included sales, marketing and client relationship management.